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TORTUGA INDIANS. The Tortuga Indians, who were probably Coahuiltecan in speech, lived in northeastern Mexico during the eighteenth century. They are firmly linked with a locality on the Tamaulipas-Nuevo León boundary about halfway between Mier and Cerralvo. One source (Uhde) also links the Tortugas with the Texas coast, particularly the section between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. This is based upon hearsay and needs better documentation. Some writers have suggested that the Tortugas may have been Tonkawans, but this has yet to be demonstrated and appears to be very unlikely.


Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Gabriel Saldivar, Los Indios de Tamaulipas (Mexico City: Pan American Institute of Geography and History, 1943). Adolph Uhde, Die Länder am untern Rio Bravo del Norte (Heidelberg: JCB Mohr, 1861).

Thomas N. Campbell


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas N. Campbell, "TORTUGA INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed September 02, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.